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Pedro A. Ortega

School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
School of Arts and Sciences
University of Pennsylvania


I am a postdoc at the University of Pennsylvania. I got my PhD in Engineering from the University of Cambridge and my BSc/Diploma in Computer Engineering from the University of Chile. My background is mainly in Physics, Mathematics and Computer Science.

This is Ludwig Boltzmann (no joke). Thanks Jordi!

:!: I am on the job market.

Research Interests

I am interested in the mathematical foundations of intelligent behaviour. I study the links between various topics such as Bayesian probability theory, information theory, stochastic control, economics, causality, statistical mechanics, ergodic theory and complexity theory. Other areas of interest are computational neuroscience, psychology and epistemology. Also, I'm a huge fan of minimalistic algorithms (see Dijkstra's quote further down).

Free Energy Functional (it's also meant to be a puzzling pic)

Most of my work centers on information-theoretic and statistical mechanical approaches to learning and control, leading to contributions in bounded rationality models and recasting adaptive control as a causal inference problem. I have also worked on causal induction, and on game- and decision-theoretic models in computational neuroscience.

To get a sense of my work, please refer to:

Travel Schedule

2015, Jul 23-25 CogSci @ Pasadena
2015, Aug 20 MIT @ Boston
2015, Aug 25-26 NSF-WS Learning, Perception & Control @ Washington DC
2015, Sep 1-3 EU-WS Info. & Decision Making @ London
2015, Sep 4 NCSML @ Warwick
2015, Sep 7 CBL @ Cambridge
2015, Sep 8 Gatsby @ London
2015, Sep 9 Microsoft Research @ Cambridge
2015, Sep 10 MLRG @ Oxford
2015, Sep 11 Deepmind @ London
2015, Sep 12-19 Tuebingen & Heidelberg
2015, Dec 7-12 NIPS @ Montreal

News (on Twitter)

Timeline of @AdaptiveAgents

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Neural Programmer-Interpreters
About 2 days, 4 hours ago by: Pedro A. Ortega (@AdaptiveAgents)

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Prioritized Experience Replay
About 2 days, 10 hours ago by: Pedro A. Ortega (@AdaptiveAgents)

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[Causality in bandits!] Bandits with Unobserved Confounders: A Causal Approach http://
About 3 days, 4 hours ago by: Pedro A. Ortega (@AdaptiveAgents)

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Development of a registration framework to validate MRI with histology for prostate focal therapy
About 3 days, 10 hours ago by: Pedro A. Ortega (@AdaptiveAgents)

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Evidence for surprise minimization over value maximization in choice behavior
About 4 days, 4 hours ago by: Pedro A. Ortega (@AdaptiveAgents)


Pedro A. Ortega
Department of Engineering
University of Pennsylvania
Off. 209, Moore Building
200 S. 33rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Email: ope [AT]

Misc. Quotes

“Man is the measure of all things: of things which are, that they are, and of things which are not, that they are not” —Protagoras

“Simplicity is a great virtue but it requires hard work to achieve it and education to appreciate it. And to make matters worse: complexity sells better.” —Dijkstra (1984) On the nature of Computing Science (EWD896)

“It seems that perfection is attained not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing more to remove.” —Antoine de Saint Exupéry (1939) Terre des Hommes

“From the Heliconian Muses let us begin to sing…” —Hesiod (circa 700 B.C.) Theogony

home.txt · Last modified: 2015/10/12 11:21 by peortega

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